Planning an international trip with your little one? You’ll need more than just a child passport to take your little monster overseas, in many cases. Here’s the lowdown on the all the documents your child needs to travel:

  • A child passport, in most cases (see below for exceptions). Getting a passport for a child is different from getting a passport for an adult in several respects. First of all, you’ll need the following documentation in addition to the child’s proof of citizenship and photo: proof of identity for yourself, even if you’re only applying for a passport for the child, and proof of your relationship to the child. Ideally, both parents should apply for the child’s passport together, but if only parent can go, he or she must bring a notarized consent form signed by the other parent. See How to Get a Child Passport for additional details.
  • If only one parent will be traveling with the child, many countries require that the parent carry a notarized consent form signed by the other parent, or documents showing that you have sole legal custody of the child. It’s always a good idea to have a document like this with you, just in case, even if the country in question doesn’t specifically require it.
  • If you have an older child who will be traveling alone, you may need to pay an additional fee to the airline so that the flight attendants can look after him or her.

When does your child not need a passport to travel out of the country? The only exceptions are land and sea travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. If you’re traveling to these countries, you can simply bring your child’s birth certificate as long as he or she is under 16. Children under the age of 19 are eligible to travel by land or sea to these countries with only a birth certificate if they are traveling as part of an organized group like a school, sports team or church group.

However, a child passport is always the best option because it is required for air travel. So, having a passport for your child will make life much less stressful if you need to fly back to the US for an emergency. Normally, it takes about six weeks to get a child passport issued if you request regular processing, and about three weeks if you request expedited processing.

For faster service, you can either make an appointment at a regional passport agency office or use a private company like RushMyPassport for faster service with no appointments necessary!